Sertraline (Zoloft) is one of the most popular antidepressants in the pharmacy. According to our data, over 7 million people take this medicine every day in the United States. That means it beats out fluoxetine (Prozac) and citalopram (Celexa). But ever since Zoloft became available generically, we have heard complaints from visitors to this website. Many report that the generic version of Zoloft does not work as well as the brand name. This is reminiscent of the story of generic Wellbutrin that we reported several years ago. Is it possible to find a generic sertraline that works? This reader is in a quandary:
What Happened to Greenstone’s Generic Sertraline?
Q. I don’t mind taking generic drugs because I can’t afford brand name medicines. The effectiveness of generics varies so widely, though, that I get frustrated.
My doctor prescribed sertraline for depression and anxiety. The first version I took made me dizzy and gave me tremors. It also didn’t do much for my depression. I switched to Greenstone sertraline and that worked much better.
I have learned that Greenstone stopped making sertraline. What will I do?
A. Sertraline is the generic name for the antidepressant Zoloft. Until recently, Greenstone offered an “authorized generic,” identical to the brand name drug.
What’s An Authorized Generic?
Most patients and many pharmacists do not know what an authorized generic is. In a nutshell, it is a licensed generic formulation from the brand name manufacturer.
In other words, the brand name company strikes a deal with a generic manufacturer. The originator firm may supply the identical brand name pills directly to the generic company for rebranding as a generic. It may also license the exclusive manufacturing process so the generic drug can be made in an identical fashion to the brand name drug.
Greenstone is a subsidiary of the Pfizer brand name drug company. Not surprisingly, Greenstone often sells authorized generic formulations of Pfizer brand name drugs. For example, Viagra recently lost its patent protection. As a result, sildenafil is now available as an authorized generic from Greenstone.
If you want to learn more about authorized generic drugs, check out this link:
Sertraline That Works?
If you wanted to buy brand name Zoloft, it could cost over $300 for a month’s supply. In contrast, the generic sertraline is under $15 a month at most pharmacies. As you’ve pointed out, however, you won’t know how you will do on a particular generic until you try it.
Many people have reported problems with some generic forms of this drug. One visitor to our website wrote:
When the pharmacy changed manufacturers for my sertraline, I started on a downward spiral. I feel depressed, agitated, anxious, crabby, fatigued and unmotivated.”
Cynthia reported a similar situation:
I have been taking Sertraline (generic Zoloft) for 2 years for mood issues related to PMDD. My December refill marked a change in shape and a slight change in color due to a different manufacturer. I thought nothing of it since I have never had a noticeable issue with generics.
After a couple of days I realized I was not feeling very well. I realized I was actually feeling seriously blue and relentlessly depressed. I lived with this for about 3 weeks. It occurred to me that sertraline was no longer effective for me. It was hard to believe that I could feel that bad that fast. I know it’s possible, but that has never been the case for me.
I politely requested a name brand prescription for Zoloft from my physician. I tried the name brand with great improvement! I was so relieved.”
Gail in Houston had to search for sertraline that works:
Several years ago I had my sertraline prescription filled at CVS. It worked well.
“A year ago I started having horrible headaches and “brain zaps,” symptoms of abrupt withdrawal. I switched to Walgreens and started using a different generic, and it worked extremely well. Then last month my doctor sent my script to CVS electronically, and the generic they had was made by a different generic company. It has been a nightmare! Brain zaps, irritability, splitting headaches.
“I am switching back to Walgreens and the prior generic manufacturer immediately. I guess it goes to show that everyone is different and we know what works in our bodies.”
Penny in Dover, Florida, has had a hard time finding sertraline that works:
I took name brand Zoloft for over 7 years, and it saved my life.
“When the generic came out, of course this was the one my insurance wanted me to take. My life has gone to hell! No other pill has worked for me like the Zoloft did.
“The generic versions are nothing like Zoloft. I live through hell each day, because of generics. Zoloft is too expensive. I already pay to see one doctor. I have tried several antidepressants. None have helped me like the name brand Zoloft did. I only have old memories of much better days.”
Buying Affordable Brand Name Zoloft:
It is possible to purchase brand name Zoloft from a reputable Canadian online pharmacy. The cost for a month’s supply is between $40 and $80. That’s way better than the brand name price in the U.S. Be careful, though. Rogue online pharmacies sell counterfeit medications.
To learn more about authorized generics and reputable online pharmacies, you will want to read our online resource, Saving Money on Medicines, available at this link. We emphasize that this is a 22-page online resource with links and other practical information. It is not a printed pamphlet.
Share your own experience with sertraline that works below in the comment section.